By Stacey Philpot
There are few things Christians love to talk about as much as “going deeper in our walk with Christ.” We love to gather and read books about it, sing songs about it, pray about it, and even write about it. But one thing it seems we don’t enjoy is actually going deeper with Christ. Why? Because often, it involves loss and requires obedience and sacrifice (more topics Christians love to talk about but not actually live out).
We want the end result without the process. We want to enjoy the benefits of a deeper walk, but we don’t want to be stripped of ourselves to get there.
It’s in the lean years that we lean into Jesus the most willingly, in the dry seasons that our roots grow deeper. It’s when we allow ourselves to be lost that we can be found in him. So the question we must ask ourselves is: Is Jesus worth it?
Five years ago, I would have told you I was close to Jesus. I also would have told you I wanted to go even deeper.
I would never have chosen what those next few years would hold, but I wouldn’t trade the deeper roots they’ve brought me for anything.
The day I struggled to get out of the shower and found my hand was unwilling to wrap around my toothbrush as a tremor danced ever so slightly upon my finger, I thought my life was over. The apex of the symptoms I’d been trying to hide shook my faith to the core. Where was God? What was going to happen to me? My symptoms worsened by the day until I was admitted to the hospital for a spinal tap and an MRI, the foremost concern being multiple sclerosis. At that point, I was unable to walk myself to the bathroom or button my own sweater.
I was a thirty-one-year-old newlywed who’d just discovered her walk with God wasn’t quite as deep as she’d thought.
I’d love to tell you that in those early days of sickness, it was God’s tangible presence that was my constant companion, but I’d be lying. Fear was my constant, faithful companion. He whispered to me in the night and shouted to me by day about how no one, not even God, would love me now. He told me I’d be alone, abandoned, maybe even die. He told me I deserved it—after all, hadn’t I failed everyone by getting sick and no longer being able to meet their needs?
The spinal tap and MRI did not bring answers. Nor did the four specialists I saw that year. No one could tell me what was wrong, so no one could fix it. No one could make me lovable again.
All I could do was run to Jesus. Naked. Afraid. Alone. Incapable of performing or earning his love. And yet he loved me. I hadn’t expected that. I hadn’t expected his heart to be moved by mine, his grace to meet me where I was. I expected him to turn away from me in horror. Instead, he turned toward me in love, mercy, and compassion.
I gained a deeper revelation of who God is, of what His love meant and looked like for me. When the masks and the needless striving were stripped away, I found myself in a deep, meaningful, beautiful place with Jesus.
It took four years to cross the finish line, to unmask the thief who’d been robbing me of my health and to begin treatment. It was a brutal four years. Would I have chosen it? Absolutely not. Would I trade the depth and fruit it produced in my walk with Christ? Absolutely not.
It’s in the lean years that we lean in to him.
So what about you? Do you still want a deeper walk if it means leaning on him through leaner years?
Stacey Philpot is wife to Ryan and mother to Hayden, Julie, and Avery. She is a writer, goofball, and avid reader. Stacey has ministered for over 15 years to youth and women in her community in order to equip them to go deeper in Christ. She blogs at aliferepaired.com and chronicallywhole.com.